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What is the difference in an Alkyd Varnish and a Polyurethane? Which is best? (in regards to interior trim and furniture finishing using a brush)
 

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All oil based varnishes consist of a resin and a drying oil (linseed, tung and soya). The two are mixed and heated until then become combined into a new compound called "varnish". Thinners are then added to improve application. There are a number of resins that can be used. Alkyd resin and phenolic resin are two. Urethane resin (called poly, polyurethane, etc) is another. Poly resin produces a varnish that is somewhat more scratch and heat resistant. It is also cheaper so many oil based clear finish are made with urethane resin these days. A non-poly varnish produces a clearer, nicer looking finish in my opinion.
 

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Varnish

I agree with Howard. Poly appears too plastic and it is for floors, IMHO. It takes longer to varish objects and there is a learning curve but I find it is worth it . One needs to use a good China bristle brush and do some practicing but I feel you will find it worth your time.
It is not the perfect finish but then none are. Sign on to Homestead finishg's forum and just go through all of the questions, tips, and recipes and you will advance your finishing knowledge greatly.
 
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